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How Long Do Lice Live on Mattress?-Explore The Question

One of the most annoying events in human life is a lice infestation, isn’t it? Lice bites are very itchy and annoying at the same time. Almost every human is a victim of this irritation. 

Head lice infestation is not considered a deadly disease, but lice can cause dandruff, dry skin, eye burning, or even a fever, and whatnot!!

Once in a board meeting, I was dying of itching my head and it looked ridiculous to everyone. I did everything to get rid of this and failed. 

Well, lice can infect through a comb, couch, or mattress. But the question is: how long do lice live on mattresses? We shall explore just that. However, let’s now find out the life cycle of a louse first.

The Life Cycle of Lice: A Thorough Understanding

Lice is one kind of parasite that lives on the human body especially on the scalp. Hair lice that stay within the human scalp area are often called head lice. 

Lice must feed on human blood multiple times a day to survive. A head louse life cycle is divided into 3 steps. The nits, the nymphs, the adults. An adult louse can live up to 30 days. 

Adult lice are brownish in color. The actual size of a full-grown louse is almost equal to that of a sesame seed. They depend on blood for their reproduction. Head lice eggs are called nits. Lice eggs in the hair are hard to find with naked eyes and confusing. Because the eggs can look like dandruff as they are white or yellowish in color. 

Lice laid their eggs at the very bottom of the hair shaft. A female adult louse can lay 100 eggs in its lifetime. The eggs hatch in a week and nymphs come out. The structure of the nymph is almost the same as the mother except it’s smaller in size. A nymph becomes an adult in 7 days and through 3 processes.

Read the full life cycle of lice here,

From your head to mattress:

Head lice move by crawling. They cannot fly or jump like bed bugs. Lice can spread directly through the infected person or his/her used accessories like clothes, pillowcases, bed sheets, hair ties, or hair brushes. 

It’s hard to get rid of lice infestation. Have you ever wondered why lice come back over and over again? It’s because the lice can stay in your room though you have taken every possible clinical help.

Once you are infected with head lice, your surroundings also get infected. Every inch of your room can contain lice. Even your mattress gets covered with lice or nits. Brushing your hair, falling, sleeping, and laying down are the possible reasons in this case.

Can lice live on mattresses? 

Lice can fall off your hair scalp when using combs and eventually end up spreading on the mattress. Besides, hair fall also does the work. Can lice live on mattresses? To answer that we need to know how lice live?

Lice can live on human blood only. The female lice can’t continue the process of reproduction without blood. The temperature of the human scalp is idle for hatching. In mattresses, they cannot get any food to live on or temperature to hatch. So it’s clear that they can not live long enough on mattresses.

Life duration of lice on mattress:

Head lice fallen from your head don’t die immediately. They need a host to be fed. Having fallen from the head, they start searching for a new host. Or at least they try. But they don’t live long isolated from their host. 

The question that arises now is how long head lice live on a mattress. Well, an adult mouse can live only 24 hours without human blood. In some cases, they can barely survive the second day. So after 2 days, they are likely to be dead. The same goes for the nits. Nits don’t get the required temperature and die.

How to treat mattress lice?

lice live on mattress and do not usually spread as they can’t fly or jump. But we don’t want to take a chance. Once you find head lice on your mattress you have to make sure that no one enters the room. 

Since lice spread through direct contact, they will eventually die without a host. Though it’s not the proper treatment to kill lice, it’s a start. 

To get rid of the lice on your mattress, you should remove the mattress sheet. You will have to clean both the mattress shit and the mattress.

  1. You must wash the sheet with hot water(130 ° Fahrenheit). Or you can keep the sheet in the freezer for 20 minutes. Extreme temperature kills lice. 
  2. Then dye it with hot air for at least 20 minutes.
  3. After drying, keep it in direct sunlight for a few minutes. It should kill the lice on the mattress sheet. You can also follow these steps for washing your bed sheet, pillowcases, clothes, and other things that fit in your washing machine.
  4. Since your mattress doesn’t fit in the washing machine you can use the vacuum cleaner to clean them up. The vacuum cleaner is an easier tool to get rid of lice from the mattress as well as pillows or carpets. Be careful because you don’t want to miss an inch.
  5. Now let the mattress dry in the sun. It’ll kill the rest of the lice or nits.
  6. You can also spray mattresses or carpets with some house-cleaning insecticide. 

This is the best lice treatment process to get rid of the lice on the mattress.


In the end, we can say that head lice or nits can fall off and live on the mattress for up to two days. In two days, if anyone makes direct contact with the mattress he/she will be infected. 

Though the chances are less, you must be conscious of your mattress and possible lice infection. Hop


  • Can lice spread from the mattress?

Yes, they can. Though a head louse can’t jump like a bed bug, it can spread back to your head if you lay down your head on the mattress or by your child or pet. Because they tend to lay down their heads everywhere. 

  • Can head lice live on pillows, sheets, and carpets?

Lice can live on your pillow, bed sheet, and carpet like they can on the mattress. They can also live in your clothes, hair ties, and hair brushes. But this duration is not more than 2 days. 

  • Why do lice bite?

Louse or nymph bites to collect food from your head or scalp. Lice bites don’t cause serious problems. But it can cause serious irritation and distraction. You’ll need proper lice treatment to get rid of this.

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